WHO would be the successor of the amiable but slightly insignificant deceased prelate, Dr. Jenkinson, to the See of St. David's was a subject of grave speculation and keen interest in the circle in which I found myself when just entering on my thirteenth year. Many names were mentioned, and one name especially around which the nascent hopes and aspirations of the Welsh people had gathered some years before, and which a true bard, in lines exquisitely beautiful from their harmony, and exquisitely touching from their allusion to the fallen state of the British Church, and their prediction of its resuscitated glory, had already enrolled among the recognised worthies of the nation; but, young as I was, I fancied I discovered that a stranger would be preferred to him. Another person was designated, who was remembered by one of the elders of the company as a most promising young man, a finished classical scholar, as well as a competent Welsh scholar, and, from his easy access to the dispensers of power, as one destined to rise to eminence, but his orbit in [63/64] maturer life had been so eccentric that neither was his promotion desired. I was an immoderately fervid Briton at that time, and thought any ecclesiastic bearing a Welsh name should have the precedence, but older and wiser heads than mine thought differently. We read one morning, in the public prints, that the Rev. Connop Thirlwall had been appointed. In the out-of-the-way place where we lived the name was that of an utter stranger. We immediately tried to ascertain his status in the Church; we investigated his antecedents, ransacked every publication that might throw any light on his career, and bringing together our respective sources of information, we discussed his merits. One of us found that the new Bishop had rendered himself conspicuous at Cambridge by writing a pamphlet in favour of Dissenters, and was noted for his advanced political Liberalism. Another understood that he was a man of undoubted ability, and was considered a prodigy at eleven years old, having even then, it seemed, published a book of rhymes; whilst I was certain that he came from the North Countrie, for his family name occurred in the wild and facetious ballad which Lord Marmion could not brook. We were shortly afterwards informed by the religious newspapers that he was a 'neologian.'* [* About the same time the Dissenters in Wales were in a state of fermentation with regard to cognate doctrines, such as the 'New Lights' and 'Finneyism,' the latter name being derived [64n/65n] from Mr. Finney, an obscure American divine. So fluctuating is the nature of popular theology, so various, and, it may be added, so wide-spread its divisions.] [64/65] The word was new to me, and it was at no inconsiderable labour that I was able to attach any definite meaning to it, and perhaps even now, after the lapse of so many years, my conception of the term is somewhat what hazy. But whatever occult meaning lay in the term, it was undoubtedly meant by the self-constituted guardians of the faith as a warning to the public, and it acted to the prejudice of the Bishop for some time after he came to reside amongst us.
Connop Thirlwall was the third son of the Rev. T. Thirlwall, and was born on February 11, 1797, in Stepney. His name Thirlwall connects him with the old feudal Barons of le Thirlwall, who held Thirlwall Castle, in Northumberland, and takes us back to the times when his stalwart forefathers were 'thirling' their way through the great wall of Severus, which was the scene of so many hard fought battles. His Christian name, Connop, he derived from his mother's family, who were resident in Radnorshire, and with whom he shared whatever Welsh blood flows in that county.* [* 'I believe I have a drop of Celtic blood in my veins.'--'Letters,' p. 252.] He was sent as a day-scholar to the Charterhouse, and there, in one of those golden seasons which occasionally come to public schools, he enjoyed the opportunity of forming life-long intimacies of the [65/66] greatest moment, and deriving, at the most impressionable time of life, the strong and salutary influence exerted by close contact with superior talent and moral excellence of the highest standard, for among his contemporaries at the school were Grote, Julius Hare, the two Waddingtons, Henry Havelock, Cresswell Cresswell, and Turner, afterward Lord Justice.
In October, 1814, he went into residence at Trinity College, Cambridge. In February he was elected Craven University Scholar. He took his degree in 1818, as twenty-second Senior Optime. This comparatively low place was atoned for by his securing the position of First Chancellor's Classical Medallist. In October, 1818, he was elected a Minor (i.e., B.A.) Fellow of his college.
He was for some time unsettled as to his choice of a profession, but at last, in deference, it seems, to the advice of friends, he entered himself as a law student at Lincoln's Inn, in February, 1820. In the summer of 1825 he was called to the Bar, and joined the Home Circuit. The same year was also marked by the publication of his translation of Schleiermacher's essay on St. Luke, with a notable introduction written by himself. This publication created a certain amount of sensation at the time, not so much, perhaps, by the great ability displayed by the translator, which was freely acknowledged by the most competent judges, as by the work being the first English [66/67] venture into the abstruse and hitherto untrodden field of German theology, and by its free handling of topics which were wont to be more deferentially treated and held with greater reserve.
In 1827 came the great change in his life. The legal profession had become thoroughly distasteful to him, and he resolved to abandon it for the clerical. He was ordained deacon in 1827; priest in 1828. In 1834 he was presented by Lord Brougham, the Lord Chancellor, to the living of Kirby Underdale, in Yorkshire, where he resided for the next six years, pursuing his ministerial duties with exemplary diligence, and gaining in no common measure the esteem and affection of his rural flock. In July, 1840, Lord Melbourne offered him the crosier of St. David's. The Bishop soon removed to the episcopal palace at Abergwili, and settled down to his new sphere of labour. He at once created the most favourable impression by his known resolve to devote himself wholly to his Welsh See.
I ardently desired to see him. My childish desire was never fully gratified. But an opportunity of forming a sufficiently accurate opinion of his outward appearance presented itself to me soon after his consecration. He was then in his full vigour, and felt it no labour to visit the most remote parts of his diocese. Throughout his episcopate he was, I believe, fond of visiting picturesque spots, old castles, Druidical remains, and any locality to which historical or antiquarian [67/68] associations clung. He had not been long at Abergwili before he came to the small town* [*Cardigan.] where I was staying, and which, in connection with remarkable events, and in the beauty of the surrounding country, offered attractions of no common order. There were to be found there a fine tidal river, a priory which had been once the abode of fair Orinda, over whose grave Cowley scattered a few graceful flowers, and the mantling ruins of a castle, at the siege of which Dr. Jeremy Taylor, the most tolerant of English divines, the most persuasive of English rhetoricians, and the most engaging of all saints, had been taken prisoner. It was a quiet and self-satisfied place, and seldom any incident happened to disturb the even tenor of its ways. The arrival of the judge for the assize, with the sheriff and his halberdiers, had been so often repeated as to have lost its attraction; the biennial races always stirred up the worse part of the lower orders; the annual hunt ball created a gentle ripple of agitation among the upper orders; but the coming of Dr. Thirlwall created an unusual commotion among all classes. His name was on every tongue. The church in which he performed some official duty was full. The narrow street through which he passed was thronged. I remember the difficulty I had to obtain anything like a satisfactory view of him and my feeling of disappointment at the [68/69] first sight. The Bishop was barely of common height, but robust, with a stout, serviceable staff in his hand, his step firm; but he was in no way distinguished or by any external token marked off from many who met my eye around. I had other slight opportunities of observing him, when I could not fail to notice his great width of brow, his mouth, with its lines of decision and its occasional curve of polished sarcasm, and his keen and luminous eyes. I have since seen wonderfully exact and in every way admirable likenesses of him in the residences of many of his clergy.
The position Dr. Thirlwall had been called to fill was the highest Wales had to offer. St. David's was virtually still what it actually was for centuries--the metropolitan see of the Principality, comprising five entire counties and an important section of a sixth, and being almost equal in area to the other three Welsh dioceses. It claimed as its founder our patron saint. It possessed by far the largest and most imposing of all Welsh cathedrals. It had been filled in remoter times by an accomplished native prince, who had proved a munificent supporter of national customs and literature. It had been contested for, with characteristic pugnacity, by Giraldus Cambrensis, the most garrulous and credulous of annalists, and who was allied to the best British and Norman families of the country. It had supplied a martyr in Bishop Farrar, and had been occupied in later [69/70] times by Bishop Davis, one of the translators of the Sacred Scriptures into Welsh; by two illustrious defenders of the faith--Bishop Bull, whose works are still deemed a repertory of the purest Anglican teaching, and Bishop Horseley, the dread of his antagonists; and within living memory by Bishop Burgess. Of the last prelate's claims to the regard of the country, it would suffice to say that he had been unwearied in promoting the love of erudition among his clergy, whilst he had not been neglectful of the education of the common people; he paid great attention to the Grammar Schools, which under his administration became efficient nurseries of the ministry; he had matured the scheme of a native college, the foundation-stone of which he lived to lay at Lampeter; and under his auspices the Welsh language had been cultivated as it had never perhaps been cultivated before. But what formed his chief claim to grateful remembrance was this: that at a critical moment, when the evangelical side of the Church's teaching had been unduly repressed by the responsible authorities, and the means of repression had been harsh in the extreme, and when the country was agitated from end to end, and swaying between secession and continuance in the Church, he turned the scale, and averted a deep and irreparable calamity. I do not suppose Bishop Burgess's talents were of a very high order, but he was an eminently good man, [70/71] the lover and promoter of good men, and an able and conscientious administrator. The new Bishop was immeasurably his superior in intellect and culture, but whether when he resigned he had secured the confidence and won the love of the diocese to the same extent as Bishop Burgess when he was translated, it would be presumptuous to attempt to decide; but it was proudly acknowledged on all hands that the lustre of St. David's great fame had been even enhanced by Bishop Thirlwall.
And yet, lofty and honourable as was the post, the See of St. David's was no bed of roses to be coveted by the indolent and luxurious, neither did Abergwili offer a peaceful hermitage for a lettered recluse or weary age. It was a most laborious, difficult, uninviting, and embarrassing post. There was first of all, lying right across the path of the newcomer, the foreign language. When he arrived among us, Dr. Thirlwall could not understand the language of three-fifths of the inhabitants of his diocese. And the language was peculiarly difficult to an Englishman. But with the dogged determination of his race, and in the spirit of one of his own historical athletes, he faced this difficulty at once, and to the best of his power--and his power was exceptionally great--overcame it. From St. David's Head to the Brecon Beacons, among the pastoral vales of Carmarthenshire and on the wild and heathy uplands of Cardiganshire, the admiration of his pluck was [71/72] universal, and unbounded was the pride that he had mastered the old Welsh tongue. When one might suppose he was only just entering on the study of its intricacies, and beginning to grapple with its gutturals, I had an opportunity of hearing him preach in Welsh. The church* [* Nevern Church, Pembrokeshire.] was placed in a lovely spot, the winding and woody vale where it stood being as the Vale of Tempè; it was embowered in yew and laurel; it was every Sunday frequented by gentle and simple, and it had been in the days of the great evangelical revival a centre of attraction to thousands, and its pulpit occupied for at least two generations by the best and most popular preachers in South Wales. The day was a sweet autumnal day, and an immense congregation had assembled to hear the Bishop of St. David's preach in Welsh. The surprise of all was great, bordering on consternation, to hear him ore rotundo give out as his text St. Mark ix. 49, 50. It was, no doubt, a scholarly discourse, and made a great impression by its exposition of an abstruse passage, no less than by the wonderfully exact construction of its sentences. There can be no question, either, that he acquired an uncommon acquaintance with the niceties and idiomatic structure of our mother-tongue. But one fancies his knowledge of it, after all, to have been an ornament for the study, and not an article for everyday use; not the fine full-flavoured natural [72/73] growth, but the plucked fruit of the adroit and strong-willed linguist. It is my impression that, with all his assimilating capacity, the language never became his own. His sonorous and stately articulation of its clustered consonants, and still more, perhaps, of its irregular vowels, excited, it is true, the reverential feelings of his hearers; but he did not, and could not, unwind the manifold cunning charms of an old immemorial language like the British, rich as it is with hidden beauties incommunicable to the stranger, or touch the nethermost springs of the soul, as is done every Lord's day in many a whitewashed conventicle through the length and breadth of the land by the ready and unfaltering tongue of any illiterate person who speaks in his own language and is to the manner born. Nevertheless, all honour to him, the good and gifted Bishop, who found out for himself, for the more complete fulfilment of his high office, a more excellent way than any of his English predecessors.
Then the low state of the Church in the diocese must have caused anxious thoughts, and would have deterred a less magnanimous man from leaving the quiet and comfort of an English rectory and attempting the task before him. The prospect was indeed discouraging. The work to be done was immense; it was nothing less than a reconstructing of what had fallen into ruins, and a strengthening of the things that remained that were ready to die. Recalling to [73/74] mind the state of the Church, as I well can from personal knowledge and from incontestable evidence, very few were the spots on which the eye could light with any satisfaction. In many parishes the Church was struggling for bare existence; in some, as to any effective organization and any salutary influence, she had been utterly effaced. It was not an uncommon case to find the clergyman non-resident, or if resident a by-word to his flock and an opprobrium to his profession; services few and far between; the sacred edifice in a ruinous condition, or if in a condition at all to keep out the wet, used for a school, the Holy Table serving for the master's desk. And yet with this mournful apathy on the part of the Church, or, rather, this shameful abnegation of the essential purport of its institution, the sects were everywhere multiplying, their followers increasing in number and influence, and manifesting a greater hostility towards her. In Wales only three sects have ever succeeded by their numerical strength in acquiring a position that could be taken into any account with reference to the stability and growth of the Church. A few Unitarian congregations, the residua of the old Presbyterians of Cromwell's time, still lingered in parts of Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, and Glamorganshire; a few dispirited adherents of John Wesley might be discovered in some of the towns by the curious; but the Baptists, Independents, and Calvinistic Methodists [74/75] alone have been found adapted to the temperament of the Welsh, and able to detach any considerable numbers from the Church of their fathers. The Baptists and Independents had always a large infusion of political views mixed with their theological sentiments. These, their theological sentiments, they had never attempted, I believe, to compress and formulate into dogmas, and insist on as terms of communion. There were ministers, therefore, in the same religious body who preached, and congregations who paid them, on the sole condition that they should preach doctrines which ranged from what proved, when closely examined, to be Antinomianism down to the lowest Arminianism, and which even dangerously parleyed with stark Socinianism. Calvinistic Methodism was confessedly an offspring of the Church. Its birthplace was the Church; its tenets were bodily taken from her Articles and Formularies; the germinating seed that had sprung into miraculous life was the Gospel as expounded in her Liturgy; the strong meat on which it had thriven, and whereby it grew and overspread the land, was furnished by her ample storehouse.
It is also well known that the first and most effective pastors of Methodism were the ordained clergy. The nursing fathers and nursing mothers of the denomination were the Church's pious laymen and pious laywomen in influential positions, who from love of her own saving truths, as well as love to souls, had been ever [75/76] ready to give a welcome to the itinerating evangelist and further him on his way. For many years the Methodists would have scorned to be considered anything but Churchmen. They never failed to attend the public ministrations of the Church and partake of the Holy Communion at the hands of her priests. But gradually, and perhaps inevitably, a spirit of alienation had displayed itself among them. A new generation had arisen, and was now coming fast to the front. These were moved by no feelings of pious gratitude for past benefits, by no fear of the loss of that support and countenance which in the incipient stages of the denomination had been absolutely essential, and little recked they of tearing asunder the old hallowed associations that bound the body to the Church. Their position, it must be owned, was not a pleasant one, and standing as it did between two opposing forces, by whom it was constantly assailed, it was one that could not be long maintained. They had to bear at once the invectives of Dissenters and the reproaches of Churchmen. The rising opinions of the Oxford School, which were popularly known as Tractarian, * [* More generally in Wales as 'Puseyism.'] furnished their leaders with a convenient weapon against the Church, which they seized with an eagerness and an acrimony which too plainly proved that the first love was lost, and had been replaced by jealousy and hatred. A corresponding feeling of animosity on the [76/77] part of the clergy widened the breach, and it was manifest that the Methodist body in Wales was gravitating towards the irreconcilable forces, and would erelong descend to the lowest level of rank Dissent.
The claims of education also were demanding attention in every part of the kingdom, and presenting a problem difficult to be solved, and in no part were those claims so exigent or so difficult to be met as in the Diocese of St. David's. It might be readily supposed that so distinguished a scholar as Dr. Thirlwall, who had already given such signal pledges of his love of knowledge, would not be behind the foremost in the work which the age had marked out as its own peculiar province--the education of the people. Hitherto the poverty of the clergy, the sordid apathy of the landowners, many of whom were absentees, the scattered state of the population, the existence of two discordant languages, and the disunion caused by sectarian passions, had combined to retard and repress its spread in Wales. Education, indeed, in any effective sense, was in abeyance, and no one except a few heavily-burdened clergymen felt any concern over the case. The traveller might go over the country, league after league, and pass through parish after parish for thirty miles at a stretch, and find the district totally unprovided with schools. That such was the case was no fault of the mass of the people. Welshmen have been always remarkable for their love [77/78] of learning, and have never been slow to avail themselves of the means of imparting instruction to their young. The instances that recur to me of the straits and privations to which parents would cheerfully submit in order that their children might attend a school that perhaps lay at a distance of three or four miles, and the only approach to which would he along steep mountain paths, and where, after all, the instruction afforded was of the most meagre and defective kind, are inexpressibly touching. And then the bright, eager, happy faces of the children themselves in school! Have our readers witnessed a class of Welsh children under examination? If not, they have missed one of the unique pleasures of life, one that stands in the same category as the sudden revelation of some beauty of nature, or the first view of some exquisite picture, which appeals to the mind and awakens the tenderest emotions of the heart. I have been told by inspectors, whose acquaintance with schools was not confined to Great Britain, that nowhere had they met with children so quick, so intelligent, or so interesting as the Welsh. But the Welsh peasant was miserably poor, his earnings on a scale barely sufficient to enable him to subsist, his dwelling a mean hovel, always out of repair, and rarely furnished with the necessary accommodation for a family. Besides, his scanty means were sorely taxed for the support of the religious teacher of his [78/79] own choice, and for the erection of his meetinghouse, which, simple as it was and ludicrously plain, with its four bare walls and its small oblong windows, was yet water-tight and free from draughts, and supplied that feeling of warmth and comfort which his Parish church, with its lengths of empty spaces, its earthen or flagged floor, its damp and mouldy appearance, and its slovenly conducted and heartless services, denied him. His attention also had been frittered on endless sectarian disputes. The Church had at no time, it is true, utterly suspended her interest in the elementary education of the poor, and that any schools whatever were found in the country, lamentably deficient as was the supply, was entirely due to the zeal and charity of her faithful ministers and lay members. The efforts of the Bishops to establish educational institutions at the Reformation, and the strenuous opposition of the secular politicians of the day, are historical facts. From the Reformation downwards there had not been wanting men, placed in high positions in the Church, who never failed to inculcate the duty of promoting education. And it is pleasing to remember that Dr. Tillotson, Addison's model writer of sermons, King William and Queen Mary's favourite divine, and the favourite preacher of the London populace, took a warm personal interest in the education of the Welsh poor. Everybody, too, who knows anything of Wales, knows its deep [79/80] indebtedness in the matter to the Rev. Griffith Jones, the Apostolic Vicar of Llanddowror, the founder of the circulating charity schools, and to his friend Madam Bevan, their liberal patron. These schools, humble in their character, as best suited the ignorant and indigent state of the rural districts for which they were primarily intended, and modest in their aim and pretension as compared to modern institutions of the kind, conferred an immense blessing on Wales. Their temporary continuance in one place; the smallness of their number; the inadequacy of the masters' salaries,* [* I remember their salaries being only £20 a year. Latterly they were raised to £30.] owing, of course, to the inadequacy of funds, as well perhaps as the extreme difficulty of finding competent teachers, or of properly training for purposes of public teaching the raw and uninformed Welsh peasant, the only material at hand, militated, it is thought, against their efficiency; but it is certain that for a whole century the only rural spots where even a glimmering of light could be seen were the parishes where these Church-schools circulated and secured the co-operation of the clergy. These, and in addition the schools of the towns, very few and very insignificant, formed the whole provision for the elementary education of the people when Bishop Thirlwall came among us.
Such is an outline, necessarily brief and imperfect, [80/81] of the condition of things among us, in respect to some important features, at the time of his appointment. How he set himself to improve it, and, by overcoming difficulties which to any other man would be simply insuperable, by supplying deficiencies, encouraging the diligent and faithful, and infusing a strong current of life and vigour where all seemed heretofore dead and past recovery, to raise his diocese more on a line with the requirements of the Church and age, is a matter of general notoriety. The unwearied energy, the unsleeping vigilance, the high and unsullied character, the transcendent talents, the wide and commanding influence, were all his own, the essential and inseparable qualities of the man, and these he devoted with all his heart to the advancement of the diocese. The fruits were to be seen in the new schools that met us in every hamlet, in the training college at Carmarthen, which his lordship opened in 1848, in the large number of new churches or churches restored, in the increased activity of the clergy, and in the reviving attachment of the people to their ancestral Church. A word may be said with regard to his correspondence with Mr. Bowstead, Sir Benjamin Hall, Dr. Rowland Williams, Canon Liddon, and others, which showed him to be ever alert when the interests or tenets of the Church were assailed, and proved him to be unmatched in the field of controversy. As to his other literary works, and [81/82] especially his charges, they have for ever associated his tenure of the See of St. David's with the most learned and valuable historical and theological works of the age. The country had watched his long episcopate of thirty-five years with ever-increasing admiration, and when, warned by the growing infirmities of old age, he resigned his office, it followed him to his well-earned retirement with feelings of profound gratitude and affection.
His resignation took place in May, 1874. He left Abergwili in the same month, 'never to return,' as he pathetically said, and settled at Bath, hoping to find a last resting-place in that pleasant neighbourhood. But his sojourn there was not long. His physical powers were gradually leaving him; he had suffered some time before from deafness, but he soon had to sustain what to him was a greater deprivation, the loss of his sight. And a paralytic affection in the right hand, and repeated attacks of serious and debilitating illness, showed that his constitution was giving way, and the end could not be far off. His mental powers continued vigorous and undiminished to the last. Every attention that the most loving care could show was paid him by his relatives, especially by his nephew, Mr. John Thirlwall. His patience and gentleness, we are told, won the hearts of all about him. The end came suddenly and peacefully on the 27th of July, 1875. '.With one call for him who had [82/83] been as his own son on earth, and with one cry to his Lord in heaven, he passed as we humbly trust from the death of sleep and from the sleep of death to the presence of that Light in which we shall see light.'
It is always interesting to recall the peculiar characteristics of men who have attained distinction in any walk of life. They often place such men before us in a new light, and bring us nearer to them than any study of their speculative productions, or a detailed account of their active labours, could possibly do. We would therefore venture to direct attention to some of the distinguishing personal traits and idiosyncrasies of the subject of our memoir, and at the same time indicate some of the dangers inseparable from the administration of a Welsh diocese by an utter stranger.
Bishop Thirlwall was remarkable for his intellectual greatness, and the sound, healthy nature, as well as the exceeding affluence, of the several qualities by which we discriminate character. When he died, it was publicly stated that the greatest intelligence in Europe had passed away. His natural gifts, his scholarly attainments, and his wide experience of life, as well as the equal poise of his intellectual and emotional powers, recommended him to this high estimate. He possessed in admirable combination keen penetration, quickness of perception, the habit of patient and exact research, and the judicial faculty of weighing evidence without fear or favour, [83/84] and arriving at regular synthetical conclusions which could be neither refuted nor shaken. His treatment of every subject he took up, perfect as it was of its kind, gave indications of a reserved force behind, felt to be an incalculable potentiality which told wonderfully in his favour. He had applied himself to so many branches of study as to have accumulated vast stores of learning, and he held them at his command, marshalled and fit for service, like some victorious chief who ruled over unlimited imperial forces, and could use them at will, not only for the purpose of exhibiting his prowess and consolidating his acquisitions, but also for adding to his conquests in other and ampler realms. Although, perhaps, he could be considered a specialist principally in history, philology, Greek and Hebrew languages, logic and theology, it might be said more appropriately of him than of anyone else in these latter days that he had taken all knowledge for his province. And yet his kindly feelings, his unfeigned humility, his sympathy with men and their every-day concerns, his love of goodness, his appreciation of natural and innocent sources of enjoyment, and his faith in human progress, remained unabated, and even grew stronger and more conspicuous, to the close of his life. We are told that 'he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.' And no doubt in too many instances extensive knowledge is apt to trouble some of the deep springs of [84/85] life, and thus prove bitter and deleterious in the event to its possessor. In strong or fastidious natures it may tend to the dispersion or the gradual hardening of the social and benevolent affections; it may issue either in libertinism or misanthropy. King Solomon, who gave his heart to seek and search out wisdom, and to see all the works done under the sun, and came at last to the conclusion that 'all was vanity and vexation of spirit,' is not the only example of this tendency. And there were in our Bishop all the necessary ingredients for adding another signal instance to those with which history, and even recent biographies, familiar in their nature but fatal in their disclosures, have presented us of the injury resulting from strength of intellect and amplitude of knowledge to some important sides of human character. He had an intuitive perception of foibles, and could detect the charlatan under any disguise; he possessed an unrivalled power of sarcasm; he had a sincere and constitutional love of seclusion and averseness to all kinds of popularity, and was not unreluctant to lean with his whole weight on the follies and fallacies of an opponent. A memorable example of this latter capacity was afforded in his treatment of Dr. Rowland Williams. Dr. Williams was a man of brilliant attainments, and as a controversialist possessed many formidable resources, a copious and choice diction, a great dexterity in the [85/86] use of invective, a brave and ardent temper, dialectic skill of a high order, and no hesitation at all to strike hard. But when fairly matched with the Bishop his discomfiture was complete, so much so that, after awarding the victor our due meed of applause, our sympathies insensibly turn to the victim. We pity him the more inasmuch as he sincerely believed he had some real ground of complaint, and that an injustice was done to him; but he could find no joint in the Bishop's armour, and no available weapon of any validity in his own armoury. He felt himself disabled, and could not return to the charge, and chafing under the restraint, he died with that internal wound still bleeding. But with all the Bishop's temptations to the indulgence of a cynical temper, he remained at heart and in converse with intimate friends a most amiable, gentle, and lovable character. Of this we have sufficient evidence in the charming 'Letters to a Friend,' which were edited by the late Dean Stanley.* [* In one of these he says: 'Surely life is a good thing, unless it be embittered by some quite exceptional suffering, without compensation or alleviation--a case which probably, never occurred. Life, I say, is a good thing, whether it be long or short.'--Pp. 296, 297.]
He was an inveterate reader. We find early in his life that so absorbing was his passion for knowledge that he would often spend sixteen hours out of the twenty-four in his study and among the books which 'overflowed in every room of his house. Eating, [86/87] walking, or riding, he was never seen without a book. The same characteristic marked him after his elevation to the Episcopal Bench. As this habit of determined application to one kind of employment is carefully recited by his biographer, and represented to us as the normal type of life led at Abergwili, it appears little short of phenomenal. We can recall very few men engaged in the practical business of life who were so devoted to books, with so little detriment to personal character or public duties. The author of the 'De Imitatione' tells us that he also was never at rest, nisi in angello cum libello. But this causes no surprise, and needs no vindication. It is what we might expect of the recluse of the monastery of St. Agnes, befitting as it was his vocation and absolute retirement from secular affairs. Southey fell a victim to the same fascination. He avers of books that they give a deep joy which nothing else can compensate. They were his constant companions, sought in the early morning and not resigned till latest evening, and when sallying out for a constitutional at his three-mile pace his eyes would be still coursing over the pages of a book held open in his hand as he walked. His ruling ambition was the replenishing of his well-stocked library. 'Why, Montesimos,' asks the interlocutor of his supposed representative, 'with these books and the delight you take in them, what have you to covet or desire?' 'Nothing,' is the reply, 'except more books.' But [87/88] Southey lived entirely for the service of literature, and lost his equilibrium in his attitude to the outside world. Our Bishop's counterpart may probably be found in Lord Macaulay. Occupying as he also did for some years a responsible public position, and engaged in active life, he showed the same avidity for books of all kinds. He ingenuously confesses: 'If I had at this moment my choice of life, I would bury myself in one of those immense libraries that we saw at the Universities, and never pass a waking hour without a book before me.' And he likewise, at his meals, or when taking his walks, was always reading some book. When we come across such portentous statements, and contemplate, as we cannot fail to do, the sanitary loss entailed on the solitary student, with his pale hue, his feeble pulse, his dim and weary eyesight, sight, and overwrought and languid brain, we are tempted to exclaim, with some impatience:
'Come forth into the light of things,
Let Nature be your teacher.
She has a world of ready wealth
Our minds and hearts to bless--
Spontaneous wisdom breathed by health,
Truth breathed by cheerfulness.'
But in addition to physical derangement, to 'the weariness of the flesh' induced by much study, there may lurk in such intemperate habits, indulged under certain circumstances, other dangers which should [88/89] be perhaps as carefully guarded against. They may interfere with that free intercourse* [* Carlyle speaks of the Bishop as being 'wonderfully swathed.' But Carlyle, with his censorious habits and well-known antipathy to truths which Bishop Thirlwall certainly held as vital to his own well-being and the stability and prosperity of society, was not in a position to judge of his real character and temper.] with our fellows, that living interest in their concerns, and that interchange of social amenities, which is supposed to be an essential part of the duties imposed by official posts. And I do not think that Bishop Thirlwall himself was quite free from blame in this respect. Some complaints, at any rate, were occasionally heard as to his evident desire to make the interview as brief as it could be possibly managed whenever his clergy called on him at Abergwili. But, on the other hand, if they involve, as it is generally implied, the more serious consequences of cramping the mind, impairing the independent action of the judgment or the free play of the affections, they had no such effect on him. In his case study seemed to make him not only a fuller but also a stronger and wiser man, more sagacious in counsel, more fertile in expedients, more ready to see the various sides of any question submitted to him, and better fitted to deal with the graver realities of life. And it must in justice be added that his books, dearly as he loved them, and reluctant perhaps as he often felt to leave them, were never suffered to stand between himself and the proper administration [89/90] of the See. He was always found ready for his official duties, and multifarious as they necessarily were in such a large and populous diocese, and difficult of performance in such an immense extent of territory, they were discharged with alacrity and admirable punctuality. Perhaps this fact, the great and constant demands made on him by his episcopal duties, explains what is so generally lamented. With the exception of his 'History of Greece,' he left behind no worthy memorial of his vast acquirements, no adequate fruit of his unexampled mental endowments. Had he collected his strength, and concentrated his attention on some magnum opus at Abergwili, what a possession for ever might we not have received at his hands!
His fondness for pet domestic animals, and his great delight in the beauties of nature, were traits in his character which we could hardly expect to find in one of his austere and lofty tone of mind. But they undoubtedly enhance our admiration of him and win for him a warmer lodgment in our affections. It has been sometimes stated that such traits may be accepted as infallible tokens of moral goodness, and reflect in no uncertain measure a tender and humane disposition and an unsophisticated nature. But it is plain that no general rule can be laid down from any particular instances. A man may lavish his affections on animal pets and yet be most unamiable in his intercourse with his fellow-men, which, after all, is the [90/91] main legitimate sphere for the exercise of kindly feelings; and the same man may also feel the greatest pleasure in beautiful scenery, and yet follow low and debasing practices without restraint. We presume it would be doing no injustice to either if we cited Rousseau and Lord Byron to verify the latter part of such an assertion. And we are told that Charles II, with all his well-known fondness for dumb animals, was callous to suffering and given up to incredible selfishness. On the other hand, we have known persons unimpeachable as regarded their tender and benevolent disposition, exhibited as it was in practical philanthropy in very trying situations, and towards ungrateful and in every way repulsive objects, whose very sensibility made them to shrink from forming an inordinate attachment to dumb animals, whose nature and conditions of life they could but dimly apprehend, whose sufferings they could alleviate only in a very inconsiderable measure, and whose death, perishing as they do more speedily than even man himself, occasioned an unavailing waste of precious feeling. Moreover, does not the contemplation of external nature, except under the consolatory and sustaining light of religion, tend mostly to melancholy and dejection? Does it not recoil on the mind and heart as a heavy and weary weight, the burden of an unintelligible mystery, hindering the ascent, if not altogether repressing the desire, towards the higher life? It becomes, [91/92] indeed, a painfully interesting question, How far does the indulgence of feeling, apart from our own kindly race and their immortal destinies, and independently of any specific spiritual intuition, promote our moral well-being? It would lead us also a step farther. It would lead us to consider what has been so frequently debated in these days, but may be regarded as only another phase of our question, the morality of the fine arts. And a dispassionate consideration would, I think, induce us to infer that art in itself has no more necessary connection with a well-ordered life than delight in the beauties of nature or the constant and cultivated companionship of the lower animals with a pure and refined mind. Some of our greatest artists were as notorious for the flagitiousness of their lives as the poet, the sentimentalist, and the merry monarch we named. Nature and the fine arts may foster the tendencies to good which they already find implanted, but are, we fear, impotent to sow the germ. They may respond, but do not originate. The first word for kindly conference and beneficent intimacy must be articulated by us.* [* John Foster's striking figure must not be omitted here: 'The world is to me what a beautiful deaf and dumb woman would be. I can see the fair features, but there is not language to send forth and impart to me the element of soul.'] They may act, and no doubt often do act, as nurses and guardians of the spiritual insight and pious yearnings of the soul, but the sources [92/93] of these, as well as their most effectual and perennial supplies, must be sought elsewhere:
'We may not hope from outward forms to win
The passion and the life whose fountains are within.'
When we read of Mungo Park in his African solitude learning the lesson of the ever-present care of an Almighty Parent from the little open flower of the desert, or of Jonathan Edwards being taught the sublime acquiescence of the optimistic necessarian from the trim and tranquil fields around his Northampton home, where, as he wandered, he was wont to 'sing forth, with a low voice, his contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer,' we are not to suppose that the instruction was the necessary and spontaneous growth of the external objects themselves, for these, the external objects, only brought into greater prominence the deeper teaching within; they only reflected the mood and action of the mind. For the reception of spiritual benefits, in our intercourse with nature or art, we must bring the requisite conditions--a sincere, unselfish, and devout disposition, the honest and good heart of the Parable. Such traits, then, as we mentioned above cannot be accepted as undeniable proofs of the love of virtue. They may arise from idle habits, the want of recreation, or a deep-rooted cynicism, and may exist together with vicious courses, and in the absence of any redeeming qualities. But, at the same [93/94] time, it is absolutely certain that no good man, who is at harmony with himself and realizes the unity that pervades creation, and can discern the tokens of wisdom and power in every object that meets his view, can do otherwise than feel a lively interest in all the works of our common Father. And it is especially grateful to the mind to see this interest manifested by those whom we esteem towards helpless dumb animals. But it must be, perhaps, confessed that our illustrious and most estimable prelate showed this feeling in a slightly grotesque fashion. We are told that he was particularly fond of cats, and whilst he thought well of tabbies in general, his great favourite was the tortoiseshell. Nor did he disdain to attend to the comfort of his geese and poultry. After dinner he would carefully go round the table and collect the broken fragments for the purpose of feeding them. When any of these, his animal pets, suffered from serious ailments, he would do his best to keep them alive by the most delicate attentions, sending even to Carmarthen town for medical advice for them. Of his love of nature in all its aspects we have striking evidence in his correspondence. Contrary to the mode which so prevails among all classes, and perhaps as much among those who are accustomed to stay within doors as any other class, he had no complaints to make of the weather; even the worst kinds, which are so generally reprobated, he accepted with philosophic equanimity--nay, he confesses that even [94/95] howling winds, pattering rain, and floods that filled the valleys were to him 'delightful.'* [* Footnote, see next paragraph] It is worthy of remark that his favourite natural object was the whitethorn in bloom, just as the brilliant red-thorn in bloom is said to have been Lord Macaulay's favourite.
[* Footnote above: The Bishop, in whom there was a strong poetical vein--but, perhaps, suppressed by a stronger philosophic and common-sense vein--must have appreciated Collins' stanza, in which these sources of delight are also enumerated:
'Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut
That from the mountain's side
Views wilds, and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires.']
He was always, and in all matters affecting the common weal in Church and State, a true liberal of the orthodox Whig denomination, which, in the proper spirit of a partisan, he calls 'the good old cause.' From our first public notice of him, relating to his advocacy of the admission of Dissenters to the University of Cambridge, to the last memorable occasion, when he stood out as the able and unflinching defender of the Disestablishment of the Irish Church, he remained stanch to his principles and party. We must acknowledge that he showed in this great strength of character, when we consider that the educated classes, and the bulk of the common people, alarmed as they had been by the revolutionary excesses on the Continent, were in favour of letting things alone, and that by the course he was taking [95/96] the avenues to power and social distinction would be closed against him. His prescience also must be admitted, when we remember that most of the changes he advocated have been accomplished to the undeniable benefit of the country. He proved, moreover, his consistency by carrying his liberalism not only into the department of administrative Church and State reform, but into the inner domain of theology as well.* [* Footnote, see next paragraph] On this ground he maybe accepted [96/97] as a representative, if not the leader, of the advanced school. It is worth observing what he says with regard to the three recognised Church of England schools. 'Our church,' he tells us, 'has the advantage of more than one type of orthodoxy--that of the High Church, grounded on one aspect of its formularies; that of the Low Church, grounded on another aspect; and that of the Broad Church, striving to take in both, but in its own way. Each has a right to a standing-place, none to the exclusive possession of the field.'
[* Footnote above: As an instance of rational exposition and directness of presentation, untrammelled by any attempt at modification or adjustment, we may here give a specimen of the Bishop's teaching on the Lord's Supper:
'In the Eucharist, no one can eat or drink our Lord's body and blood in any but a purely spiritual sense. In such a sense the words of institution are no doubt as true now as ever. But they afford not the slightest support to the doctrine of the Real Presence, whether in the Roman, Lutheran, or Tractarian form. So interpreted, they are wholly inconsistent with the idea of a local presence on a material altar; and the scenic decorations of the sacrament-lights, vestments, and ornaments of the altar, so far as they are significant of doctrine, become manifestly unmeaning, inappropriate and misplaced, the question as to "the position of the celebrant" a mere waste of breath.'
To some of us who have been trained to other conceptions of Divine mysteries, this language in its undisguised subjective bearing may be rather startling; but in the view of the flood of metaphysical niceties and mystical rhetoric in which we have found ourselves immersed of late years, it is a comfort that we have at last touched ground, and cannot possibly go lower, resting as we are on the veram et vivam petram, the position, too, being safe-guarded by some of the most learned and able divines of the Church of England.]
These liberal ideas were always to be found, no doubt, in the Church, but for a long time they existed in a loose, vague way. They began to be made current in an accredited form in the reign of Charles I., in order, as it seems, to counteract the dominant Puritanism of the period, and the rapidly rising high views of Laud. The 'ever-memorable' John Hales, and the select company who met at Lord Falkland's residence at Tew, 'that college situate in a purer air' than that surrounding the two contending factions, are reported to be founders of the school which was then called the Moderate, and subsequently the Latitudinarian, but in recent times has been best known as the Broad School. Although Dr. Thirlwall does not absolutely reject this title, yet he characteristically suggests that 'eclectic' would be more appropriate. But even that could not be applied, so far as he knew, to any particular school or party. It [97/98] should be rather understood as signifying a certain stamp of individual character, which he would venture to describe 'as a disposition to recognise and appreciate that which is true and good under all varieties of forms, and in persons separated from one another by the most conflicting opinions.' Another observant and discriminating writer has described the school, wanting although it may be in definiteness and compression, as well perhaps as in the enthusiastic confidence which generally acts as the most powerful motive force, yet where the spirit is a bond offering a common ground of sympathy and co-operation, and is, moreover, a pervasive element, quickening, purifying and directing the whole. He adds that its principles are the most accordant with the Anglican middle system, the most flexible to the inevitable variations of times and circumstances, and the most congenial to large and masculine intellects.
This liberal spirit seemed innate to Bishop Thirlwall, and was certainly exemplified with remarkable fidelity throughout his long career. Hardly any period could be named when so many new and discordant opinions and practices arose in the Church, and were respectively defended by such conspicuous ability, as during his episcopate, but he held on his own way with an unfaltering step. There is reason to believe that the major part of Churchmen, clerical and lay, however they may be occasionally deflected and swayed to [98/99] extremes by catchwords to which they may have committed themselves in moments of excitement, belong to the same school, so consonant it is with the general moderation of the Prayer-Book, and with the calmness,* [* Footnote (1) see end of paragraph] benignity, and the profound and comprehensive charity of the Gospel. But just as the other two schools contain elements of danger if unduly pressed in either direction, the one tending to fanaticism, and the other to superstition, so the Broad School is liable to degenerate and fall away to [99/100] spiritual decay and religious indifferentism. But, nevertheless, the course it points out is the one which not only carries with it the sanctions of our highest standards, but bears also on the face the clearest marks of moral and intellectual sanity, and is therefore the safest and the most satisfactory to everyone who, bewildered by the clamour and pretensions of the sects, wishes to walk in the light of reason with an abiding confidence in the progress of humanity, and in the company of the wisest of our race. Not to speak of the example of the glorious band of the mystics,* [* Footnote (2) see end of paragraph] which will never cease to possess an attraction for the elect among men, or of the shocks and accidents of life which forbid the most hardened to sink into utter apathy, such portions of the Liturgy and the sacred Scriptures as are impregnated with the deepest spirituality, and are aglow with a Divine enthusiasm, will always furnish the antidote to the [100/101] danger indicated.* [* Footnote (3) see end of paragraph] The General Confession, the Te Deum, the suffrages and other impassioned petitions in the Litany, and the whole of the Communion Service, no less than the profoundly touching and suggestive lessons found in our Lord's discourses, and in such parables as, for instance, the Ten Virgins and the Prodigal Son, or the scene in Simon's house, where the penitent washed the Saviour's feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head, cannot fail to neutralize the tendency that may lie in any form of teaching to total indifferentism. These [101/102] constitute the Church's inherent and indefeasible powers of reviving and freeing herself from the lethargy and heavy slumber which may occasionally oppress her, and must ever supply the fresh oil wherewith to relume and replenish her lamp whenever it threatens to sink down and die
[* Footnote (1) above: Beneath the still waters of the Sacred Scriptures there may be, it is true, deep and powerful currents which, if set in sympathy with the mystic element that undoubtedly exists in the soul, can irresistibly sway and determine the whole course and destiny of man. It has been observed that even the Lord's Prayer, wonderfully calm and unexciting as it seems to the ordinary reader, furnishes in the doxology not only an effective example of amplification of cognate phrase, but also material for moving the strongest emotions. From self-abasement on account of our trespasses, and self-distrust in view of any temptation, we rise with it to an ecstasy of joy and triumph, at the certainty that to our Heavenly Father belong 'the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever.'
* * * * *
Similar instances of a rapturous climax will no doubt recur to the reader.
'To his song
Victory and praise in their own right belong.'
'O Lord, our Lord, and Spoiler of our foes,
There is no light but Thine, with Thee all beauty glows.']
[* Footnote (2) above: The following verse, which breathes the very soul of religious mysticism, appears to have been a favourite with the late Bishop Lightfoot:
'Gaze one moment on the Face whose beauty
Wakes the world's great hymn;
Feel but one unutterable moment
Bent in love o'er Him
In that look feel heaven, earth, men and angels
Distant grow and dim;
In that look heaven, earth, men, and angels
Nearer grow through Him.']
[* Footnote (3) above: In his memoirs, by Carus, we find the Rev. Charles Simeon dwelling on the profound humility and sense of human corruption and sinfulness that pervades the General Confession, and then adding, 'I join in the acknowledgment, "There is no health in us," in a way that none but God Himself can conceive. No language that I could use could at all express the goings forth of my soul with these words, or the privilege I feel in being permitted to address the God of heaven and earth in these words, "Almighty and most merciful Father."'
Thomas Olivers, who was a noted Wesleyan preacher and hymnologist, states: 'The first Sunday after my conversion I went to the cathedral (Bristol) at six o'clock in the morning. When the Te Deum was read I felt as if I had done with earth, and was praising God before His throne. No words can set forth the joy, the rapture, the awe, and reverence I felt.'
The first revival, which was the beginning of a general religious awakening in Wales in that generation, occurred in Llangeitho Church, whilst the Rev. Daniel Rowlands was reading the litany, and whilst he was reading these words: 'By Thine agony and bloody sweat, good Lord, deliver us.' The words in Welsh (in which language he was praying) are strikingly [101n/102n] expressive and affecting: 'Trwy dy ddirfawr ing a'th chwys gwaedlyd, gwared ni, Arglwydd daionus.' We are told that on this memorable occasion 'nearly the whole congregation wept, and wept aloud.'
Howel Harris, one of the most celebrated Welsh evangelists of the last century, was buried, by his own express desire, near the altar of his parish church at Talgarth, the spot where, during the administration of the Holy Communion--more especially when reciting the Confession--he first felt compunction for sin and a comforting sense of pardon through the precious Blood of Christ. This is recorded on his tombstone. End of Footnote (3)]
It has been one unfortunate result of the appointment to Welsh Sees of Englishmen who were strangers to the country, that they not only looked upon the English as the ideal and final type of religious thought and sentiment, which perhaps might be excused, but brought with them their own conception of modes of public worship and teaching. Having never seen, perhaps never conceived, anything different, they naturally concluded all variations to be a violation of good taste, if not a serious inroad on all ecclesiastical order. They therefore almost invariably attempted to eliminate what was to themselves strange, and to force the Welsh dioceses into an exact, iron conformity with [102/103] the English pattern. They made no allowance for differences of place, race, or manners. Any little deviation from what they had been accustomed to was, in their estimation, an act of grave irregularity, which cost them nearly as much pains to try to rectify as it cost them to rouse their careless clergy to a greater sense of the irresponsibilities, or to encourage the pious clergy, who were devoting all their energies to the performance of their duties, and doing their best to retain their countrymen within the fold of the Church. And yet such an absolute surrender of all national, or even provincial, predilections, in order to obtain a dead level of one mode of public teaching, or a great show of rubrical uniformity, was unknown till within the last 150 years. Even in mediæval times, under the professed subjection of all to the will of one earthly ecclesiastical ruler, the usages varied in different districts and even in single dioceses. And it was peculiarly unhappy to try to assimilate in every particular the Church in Wales to the Church in England, so great a diversity existing in the habits and tempers of the inhabitants of the two countries. And why should we be called on to give up our hereditary traits and customs, which are congenial to our disposition, and are not only harmless, but positively advantageous, for the work of the Church? A statesmanlike Churchman, one would think, would rather utilize than supersede and remove them. Bishop Thirlwall fell [103/104] less into this error than some of his predecessors. But even he gave great offence to many of the most meritorious of his clergy and laity at the beginning of his episcopate in this matter. It was not at all an unusual thing to hear the note of warning raised against the perils that lay in ambush in the perfervidum ingenium Celticum, and the emphatic testimony borne to the necessity of cultivating decorum and sobriety of sentiment; but in his primary charge he went on to dwell on the inexpediency of extemporaneous prayers and the religious 'private societies,' the irregularity of singing at the Holy Communion, and on the mode of conducting clerical meetings. The private societies were simply communicants' meetings. They were conducted, as is well known, on the system founded by Dr. Woodward in the reign of Queen Anne, and popularized by Wesley and Whitefield in the Georgian era. They were found congenial to the Welsh, and proved to be of great service in the hands of the evangelical clergy. The clerical meetings were the precursors of the present ruri-decanal meetings. They were held for the double purpose of affording an opportunity for the clergy and piously inclined laymen to confer together on measures affecting the welfare of the Church, and of awakening a deeper sense of religion among the common people by a series of sermons, well prepared and, earnestly delivered. They were held in rotation in several [104/105] parishes confederated for the purpose. The attendance on such occasions was almost always very large, great numbers of people coming from a distance, and these would be hospitably entertained by the farmers and tradesmen of the place where the services were held. Two sermons would be invariably preached at each service--the first by one of the younger clergy present, and the other by one of the seniors. It was an admirable training for the younger clergy; and the two sermons, the one immediately succeeding the other, were otherwise perfectly justified by the great multitudes that had assembled on the occasion, hungry for the Bread of life, and waiting for the distribution of the loaves in hand that they might all eat and be filled. But the Bishop saw no rational motive, or any relative advantage, in such extra-parochial assemblages. As for the two sermons, he expressed his strong disapproval of them. The custom was not warranted by theory, or, as far as he knew, by practice, certainly not in the well-regulated English dioceses, and was, perhaps, too well calculated to engender a spirit of rivalry in the preachers which might be prejudicial to the ministry itself. The Bishop lived to modify his views on the subject. Indeed, he made it known at the dinner held after the delivery of the charge that his object was not to suppress, but to reform. But the knowledge that his lordship was out of sympathy with them told adversely, and in the [105/106] sequel proved nearly a death-blow to these popular and most interesting meetings.
It was a subject of general regret in South Wales that he was not buried in the diocese over which he had presided so long, and with which his name will be always associated as one of its greatest benefactors, as well as one of the greatest ornaments of the age. It is true that at Cambridge his genius was nurtured and began to exhibit its unique excellence, and at Kirby Underdale his most elaborate literary work was produced; but it was when Bishop of St. David's he acquired his European fame for those virtues and endowments which raised him so high above his contemporaries, and claimed for him the admiration and grateful remembrance of posterity. It must surely, be a mistaken policy to try and collect the mortal remains of the illustrious citizens of such an extensive and populous country as our own, and deposit them in one limited space, such as Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's. A Santa Croce, or even a vast Walhalla, is become with us impossible. What might be feasible and proper for Attica or Florence, with their small populations, necessarily yielding but a restricted number of men of extraordinary worth, and with their small territories, where the sacred enclosure might be placed within easy reach of the whole extent of the State, is not practicable, were it otherwise desirable, in Great Britain. It must be ostensibly better to [106/107] multiply and distribute such hallowed spots, the centres of so much varied interest, in such a way as to be more accessible for the tributes of gratitude and affection, and to act on a wider scale as incentives to emulation. And is it not more pleasing to our minds, and more in unison with their own characters, that Shakespeare should repose amidst the sylvan beauties of his native Stratford-on-Avon, Wordsworth amidst the quiet mountain solitudes of Grasmere, John Locke in High Laver, 'in a pleasant corner on the south side of the church' where he used to worship, or our latest departed worthy, Dean Church, in the retired churchyard of Whatley, rather than amidst the tumult and endless roar of London? If we were so poor as not to possess any special sanctuary worthy to become the receptacle of our great Welsh Bishop, yet he alone would have rescued any spot from oblivion, and gathered round it the affectionate regard of the Welsh people. But in St. David's we possessed the burial-place, not only of our patron saint, but also of many eminent Bishops, both British and Norman, of several Kings and national heroes, of scholars and statesmen. It would have been, one might suppose, only in harmony with his close relation to the See which had employed the best part of his life if he also had been taken to its cathedral, which as much by its historical associations as by the stateliness of its structure, and the unique grandeur of its position, might well have [107/108] become his lasting resting-place. In any case, there was another choice. In its rural seclusion, and as his residence for so many years, Abergwili possessed claims of no common order for one who, like himself, was so passionately fond of country sights and sounds, and was never so happy as when he could retire from the busy haunts of men, and find himself within the tranquil and beautiful precincts of his Welsh home.
But it was determined otherwise, and he was buried at Westminster Abbey in the same grave as Mr.Grote, the historian, who had been his school-fellow in youth and his friend through life. The stone which marks the spot is inscribed to
Scholar, Historian, Theologian,
For thirty-four years
Bishop of St. David's;
Born February 11, 1797,
Died July 27, 1875.
Cor sapiens et intelligens
Ad discernendum judicium.
Gwyn ei fyd.'*
[* These Welsh words may be translated as--
'White is his world,'
but more idiomatically rendered--
'Blessed is he.']
1. Primitiæ; or, Essays and Poems. By C. T., eleven years of age.
2. Translation of Schleiermacher's 'Essay on St. Luke,' with an Introduction by the Translator. 1825.
3. Translation of two of Tieck's Tales, 'The Pictures' and 'The Betrothing,' with a Preface by the Translator. 1825.
4. Translation of Niebuhr's 'History of Rome,' in conjunction with Julius Hare.
5. Contributions to the Philological Museum. 1828-32.
6. Letters: A Letter to Thomas Thurton, D.D., on the Admission of Dissenters to Academical Degrees. 1834.
A Letter on the Statements of Sir Benjamin Hall, Bart. 1851.
A second Letter on the same subject. 1857.
A Letter to J. Bowstead, Esq., concerning Education in South Wales. 1861.
7. History of Greece, 8 vols. 1835-47.
8. Geschichte von Griechenband von L. Haymann. 1839-40.
9. A Speech in the House of Lords in favour of the Bill for the Relief of the Jews. 1848.
10. A Lecture on the Advantages of Culture for all Classes. 1850.
11. An Inaugural Address delivered at Edinburgh. 1861.
12. Several Sermons.
13. Charges 1842-74.
14. A Reply to Dr. Rowland Williams' 'Earnestly Respectful Letter.' 1860.